Kemal Sancılı, publisher of pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem daily, arrested by Turkish court

Kemal Sancılı, the publisher of the now-closed pro-Kurdish Özgür Gündem newspaper was arrested by a Turkish court on Friday.

According to a report by pro-Kurdish Fırat news agency (ANF) on Friday, Kemal Sancılı was detained in Ipsala district of Edirne province on Greek border region two days ago. Sancılı was taken to the Ipsala Courthouse on Friday after the police procedures. He appeared before a judge and was remanded in custody, to be sent to the Silivri Prison.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s pro-Erdoğan news channel CNN Türk decided to end the journalist İsmail Saymaz’s job as a commentator in its prime-time program Gece Görüşü on Thursday.

CNN Türk belongs to the Doğan Media Group, which was sold to a pro-government conglomerate, Demirören Holding in March, which brough the proportion of media companies affiliated to the government to a staggering 90 percent.

According to Turkish media, another journalist Nevzat Çiçek, who comes from the Islamist background is also cut from the same program. Çiçek is known as pro-Erdoğan journalist.

It was reported that Saymaz will keep on working at Hürriyet newspaper belonging to the same group, his online commentary videos in the newspapers web-site have also been ended due to his opposition against the Turkish government.

The list of casualties at Dogan Media group continues to grow after the group was purchased Demiroren family. Earlier in the week, Hakan Çelik, another Erdoğanist journalist has found himself out of a job. In April, Ahmet Hakan was removed   from his presenting role on Kanal D, which Demirören is reportedly planning to downsize and staff with journalists from the pro-government channel Show TV.

Former CNN Türk general director Erdoğan Aktaş lost his job in May, to be replaced by pro-government academic and commentator Bora Bayraktar.

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday. If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 254 journalists and media workers were in jail as of May 8, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 192 were under arrest pending trial while only 62 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

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